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Struggling with storage? This app connects you to solutions, AirBnb style

(REAL ESTATE TECH) Neighbor has been called the “Airbnb of storage” – here’s why they can provide you a comfortable and cheaper solution for your storage needs.

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Warehouse storage space with

Paying for storage is one of those adult issues for which one is never quite prepared, if only financially. Amidst a pandemic, new complications have invariably arisen for both people looking to store their goods and people trying to make use of newly empty space. Fortunately, there’s a solution to connect the two: Neighbor.

Neighbor, a startup that launched back in 2017, has been touted by some as the “Airbnb of self-storage”—a fitting title for the service—and it stands to bridge the gap between the aforementioned storage-bound demographics. Neighbor’s function is simple: People who have space, be it a garage stall or a whole floor of offices, list it; anyone who needs to keep their stuff somewhere else can then pay a monthly fee to do so in listed spaces through Neighbor.

Insurance for both the owner of the space and the renter is also included at no additional charge to either party, and Neighbor allows other terms (e.g., access rules, hours of operation, etc.) to be negotiated through their app. This makes it a convenient, relatively low-risk service for the times—no need to maneuver around a face-to-face meeting or exchange cash that has been God knows where.

It should be noted that Neighbor isn’t just for “standard” storage spaces like garages and sheds. Spare rooms, attic space, driveways, and pretty much anything else that can house goods stand to be listed—it’s at the renter’s discretion to determine whether or not your listing is sufficient for their needs. This means that anyone from new empty-nesters to actual Airbnb hosts who find themselves devoid of business is free to move their space onto Neighbor.

While Neighbor isn’t new, their services offer a strange, rare relief during the present day. With huge chunks of buildings almost entirely devoid of use in the wake of COVID-19, businesses large and small alike are poised to lose unfathomable amounts of money.

It may not be sexy, but using that space as storage through Neighbor might be the solution businesses need to stay afloat—and, with an increase in downsizing and moving, renters may come flooding in.

Jack Lloyd has a BA in Creative Writing from Forest Grove's Pacific University; he spends his writing days using his degree to pursue semicolons, freelance writing and editing, oxford commas, and enough coffee to kill a bear. His infatuation with rain is matched only by his dry sense of humor.

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Real Estate Technology

Lennar is building an entire community of 3D printed homes in Austin

(TECHNOLOGY) With material and labor shortages impacting new construction, Lennar is developing a new strategy to keep up with demand: 3D printed homes.

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3d printed homes by Lennar

With material and labor shortages impacting new home construction, companies are having to develop new strategies to keep up with demand. Lennar, one of the largest homebuilders in the nation, is turning to 3D printing technology as a way to build homes faster than conventional methods. One Austin community is slated to break ground on 100 3D printed homes in 2022. Lennar partnered with ICON to bring this community to the Texas city.

3D printed homes – theory or practice?

Last year, The Washington Post called 3-D homes “futuristic” and “homes of the future.” 3D printed homes are supposed to be less expensive to build and energy-efficient, but the real push for 3D printed homes is the time frame for building.  3D Homes can go up much quicker than traditional homes while following code and building structures that can withstand the weather conditions of the area. Still, it’s a new technology. Currently, only homes up to 3,000 square feet can be built through 3D printing.

3d printed homes by Lennar

Concerns about 3D printed homes

According to Fictiv, a Digital Manufacturing Ecosystem, 3D printing has grown from $4.4 billion in 2013 to an industry bringing in a projected $21 billion in 2021. 3D printing is changing many industries, from jewelry to healthcare. 3D printed homes hold a lot of potential, but there are skeptics in the construction industry. The technology is in its early days. Currently, only walls are being printed. Foundations still need to be built. Currently, roofs are not being printed. Some experts believe that it may take 30 to 40 years to see a disruption in the construction industry.

Lennar is not the first company to build 3D homes. New Story, a San Francisco non-profit, partnered with ICON to build 50 3D printers in Tabasco, Mexico. A German-based company, Peri, partnered with Habitat for Humanity to build a 3D-printed home in Tempe, Arizona. Apis Cor built a home in Russia in just 24 hours using 3D technology.

We’ll have to watch and see how 3D printing changes construction.

3d printed homes by Lennar

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Real Estate Technology

1 in 3 houses are already smart homes – do you know your obligations when marketing one?

Realtors may market a home as smart homes, so do you know what qualifies and what disclosures are required?

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Did you know that a third of all homes in America currently meet the requirement to be called a “smart home,” and that is expected to rise to 54% in less than 24 months? What are you doing to properly market your listings accordingly? How are you studying the trend to make sure people that need accessibility features of smart homes are accommodated?

This was the very topic at hand at a lively panel at the 2021 REALTORS® Conference & Expo led by Craig Grant, CEO of The Real Estate Technology Institute & RETI.us and Brandon Doyle, a Maple Grove, Minnesota Realtor and host of “Home Tech Decisions” on YouTube. The overarching theme of the discussion was the benefits of smart homes to the real estate business.

Grant notes that it doesn’t take large investments to make a house a smart home. “Just having a few devices in specific categories, such as certain lighting, security cameras, or appliances, qualifies a home to be a smart home,” he notes.

To call a home “smart,” it must have a reliable internet connection and smart items in at least three categories, and may then be marketed as such.

“These homes were once only for the ultra rich, but we’ve gone from only super-wealthy people like Bill Gates having these products to every home now having at least one or two smart items,” said Doyle, who jokes that companies like Amazon basically give away these devices as a “gateway drug” to other connected devices.

The two presented data revealing that 26% of Baby Boomers currently have smart home technologies in their homes, 49% of Generation Xers, and 77% of Millennials.

This data implies that rapid increase you should expect in the market, as consumers increasingly own smart home features, but will also expect them as part of a listing.

The panelists note that it is not just novelty that consumers seek, but ease of use and accessibility, thus the popularity of products like lighting systems, carbon monoxide detectors, and digital thermostats.

“Smart home technology can now be used by seniors and those with disabilities to assist them in day-to-day activities,” noted Grant. He adds that real estate professionals play a role in being able to educate senior buyers and their families of how smart homes can aide their lives. He illustrates with the examples of smart home devices that detect falls, voice-activated features like curtains, and aides that help the visually impaired and hearing impaired.

The panelists acknowledged the risks associated with smart homes (like the vulnerability of not changing passswords from the default or when moving away, and the listening features of smart devices), but ultimately conclude that settings can often disable these features, and that the rewards outweigh the risk.

They also asserted that Realtors have an obligation to know all rules and requirements regarding selling a smart home, such as explaining what devices are included in the close of a property, and disclosing any hazards, as well as adhering to all privacy laws.

Although not woven into the panel, the National Association of Realtors (host of the annual conference) does offer an inexpensive, 12 credit hour certification course, “Smart Home Certification” which could be the shorcut to understanding your obligations when selling or marketing a smart home.

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Real Estate Technology

AI can now spot fake landlords and rental scams

(REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY) False rental listings have risen so Scamlord.ai is helping renters by offering education and guidance on how to avoid becoming a target of rental fraud.

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scamlord.ai scammer

Even with a global pandemic going on, some US renters still need to find a new place to live. The world keeps spinning and people are having to find ways to adapt. Unfortunately, as more people are turning to fully online resources to find their next property, it can be harder for some to tell fact from fiction. That is where Scamlord.ai steps in.

Online scammers are in full effect creating fake landlords and rental listings to lure people into fraudulent deals. Scamlord.ai is a new, AI-driven tool that helps people stay away from potential rental fraud.

Scamlord.ai was created by Onerent, a small-residential rental manager on the West Coast. This new tool is designed to help renters avoid losing money and personal information to rental scams. According to the Scamlord.ai website, the tool was created by gathering thousands of fraudulent rental listings over the past several years and feeding them into a machine learning model. When renters input listing information, the AI uses that to track patterns in the contact information which allows it to tell if the listing is actually a scam.

Rental fraud has become a huge problem in the U.S. market with over 5 million U.S. renters reporting losing money to rental scams. Scamlord.ai creators hope that their tool can help more renters avoid this type of heartbreak.

We want to educate renters of the dangers of rental scams and save the money, risk, and fear of rental fraud. Any details we verify as scam will help us build a database of scammers,” said Rico Mok, co-founder of Onerent.

Scamlord.ai has a simple interface. All users need to do is input the listing phone number, email address, owner name, URL, and property address of a potential rental property and the AI will be able to tell if this is a legitimate listing.

The website also includes some helpful information for renters on how to spot a potential rental scam and what to do if they come across a fraudulent listing. Some of the warning signs include:

  • Rental listings being priced at a huge discount compared to similar homes in the area
  • Communicating with strange and sporadic emails
  • Requesting money upfront via wire transfer or prepaid debit card

Scamlord.ai is helping renters navigate a frequently changing world by offering education and guidance on how to avoid becoming a target of rental fraud.

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